Sanctuary of safety lies in steady course

In 1982, while serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Thomas S. Monson spoke in the April general conference about maintaining an undeviating course to the celestial kingdom.

By way of illustration of how small things can turn one from an intended goal, he spoke of the great German battleship, the Bismarck, which seemed unsinkable as it withstood intense shelling by British ships. But a torpedo scored a hit that jammed the Bismarck's rudder. Repair efforts proved fruitless; with no rudder, the ship could not be steered to the safety of a home port, which was quite close. The crew scuttled the ship."Like the vital rudder of a ship, we have been provided a way to determine the direction we travel," said Elder Monson, who is now first counselor in the First Presidency. "The lighthouse of the Lord beckons to all as we sail the seas of life. Our home port is the celestial kingdom of God. Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course in that direction. . . . To us comes the signal: Chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed."

Elder Monson spoke of Daniel in the Old Testament as one who followed an undeviating course. Daniel interpreted for Belshazzar the writing on the wall, but refused the proffered rewards, saying, "Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another." (Dan. 5:17.)

"Belshazzar's successor, King Darius, also honored Daniel, elevating him to the highest position of prominence," Elder Monson said. "There followed the envy of the crowd, the jealousy of princes, and the scheming of ambitious men.

"Through trickery, aided by flattery, King Darius signed a proclamation that provided that anyone who made a request of any god or man, except the king, should be thrown into the lions' den. (See Dan. 6:7.) The law was signed, the proclamation sent forth. Prayer was forbidden. In such matters, Daniel took direction not from an earthly king but from the king of heaven and earth, his God. Overtaken in his daily prayers, Daniel was brought before the king. Reluctantly, the penalty was pronounced. Daniel was to be thrown into the lions' den. The sentence was carried out.

"I love the biblical account which follows:

" `The king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting . . . and his sleep went from him. . . .

" `The king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

" `And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel. . . . O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

" `Then said Daniel unto the king, . . .

" `My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me. . . .

" `Then was the king exceeding glad. . . . Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.' " (Dan. 6:18-23.)

Elder Monson said: "In a time of critical need, Daniel's determination to steer a steady course yielded divine protection and provided a sanctuary of safety. . . .

"The problems of our day loom ominously before us. Surrounded by the sophistication of modern living, we look heavenward for that unfailing sense of direction, that we might chart and follow a wise and proper course. He whom we call our Heavenly Father will not leave our sincere petition unanswered. . . .

"As we venture forth on our individual voyages, may we sail safely the seas of life. With the never-failing rudder of faith guiding our passage, we too will find our way safely home."

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